Cartoon causes stir
By Kang Hyun-kyung
A ruling Saenuri Party member has drawn the ire of opposition party politicians after providing a link to a controversial cartoon that satirizes Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) on his Facebook page.
In the cartoon parody, Moon, portrayed as an enemy chief, was beheaded with his head dumped on the ground by an armed general on horseback.
Lee Joon-seok, a 27-year-old member of the ruling party’s interim leadership body, edited the Web cartoon by adding Moon’s head to the original copy and posted it on Facebook for a while before deleting it.
The Harvard graduate also replaced the head of the armed general, who killed Moon, with a headshot of Son Soo-jo, who unsuccessfully ran against Moon in the Busan election on the ruling party ticket in April.
The Web cartoon was originally drawn by a Japanese artist. It is a parody of the “Records of the Three Kingdoms,” the authoritative historical text on the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history.
Lee apologized on his Facebook page after removing the edited cartoon as it caused a stir. His apology after the inappropriate act hasn’t stopped criticism from angry DUP members.
As the backlash against Lee spiraled out of control, he paid a visit to Moon’s office in central Seoul to offer an apology to him in person. The ruling party star, who had drawn heavy media attention after Park Geun-hye chose him for the key post months ago, had to wait for an hour in front of his office to meet the presidential hopeful.
Lee was quoted as saying politely several times that he was very sorry for the parody cartoon.
After the encounter, Moon tweeted he accepted Lee’s apology, calling it "sincere." “Young people make mistakes and they are growing as they make trials and errors. They have growing pains. I think Lee learned from the experience,” he said.
Park Yong-jin, a DUP spokesman, demanded that Rep. Park Geun-hye of the Saenuri Party say sorry for the cartoon being posted and take responsibility for Lee’s childish act.
In a briefing, he alleged the cartoon showed vividly the status of the mental health of “Park’s kid.”
“The DUP is dismayed at the cartoon, illustrating that Lee is full of animosity and rudeness. We want Rep. Park to take responsibility for the act as it crossed the line,” he said.
“Suppose I posted a cartoon where Park was shown as a beheaded enemy on Twitter. I wonder how the conservative media, as well as the ruling party, would react to it. We will see how the Saenuri Party leader reacts to the cartoon controversy.”
The ruling party has yet to respond to the call.